There is a massive array of equipment available to run a marine aquarium, with reef tanks having vast banks of equipment needed to maintain good water quality. For a simple marine aquarium there are a few essential pieces of equipment:
Always aim to get the largest tank you can. The greater the body of water in the tank the more stable the water quality. Also you can then accommodate more livestock. The minimum tank size for a marine aquarium is 100 L, anything less cannot provide stable water quality.
A filter is an essential piece of equipment as this processes the waste from the fish and keeps the water healthy and clear. Fish only systems have more basic filtration needs whereas ‘reef’ aquarium need very complicated external filters or ‘live-rock’ filtration. Speak to your local aquatic store for advice. Make sure you get a filter suitable for your tank, as this is the life-support system for your fish and invertebrates.
Most marine aquarium have a protein skimmer installed. This very useful piece of kit uses minute air bubbles to strip fish wastes out of the water and helps the filter to keep the water healthy and clear. There are many types available and they are an incredibly useful addition to the vast majority of marine aquaria.
Fish only systems need lighting sufficient to illuminate the tank and see the fish. Very bright lights may make some fish timid, ‘Moon – lights’ are available which simulate night time allowing you to watch nocturnal activities of your marine tank.
Reef aquarium have very specific lighting needs.This is due to many corals, anemones, clams and others, having minute algae in their tissues that they need to feed and grow. The algae is a plant and thus needs light to photosynthesize food. Speak to your local aquatic shop staff for more details on lighting requirements of your livestock.